Eden Road Race Report

Four of the Team Great Divide made the drive to Great Falls for the Eden Road Race on Saturday, May 19 – John Tietz, Byron “Guy Noir” Deford, Randall Green, and me. We all managed to comfortably fit into John’s mini-van for the drive there and back.
Got to the race start location with plenty of time to sign-in, get kitted-up, and do some visiting. Pretty small field, but a good number (4, I think) of ladies from the “other” Helena bike shop showed up, which was great. Our team definitely had the numbers game sewed up for the Master’s B category. The promoter, John Juras, decided to run just two groups – Masters A’s and 2&3s, and everyone else. The everyone else group got started about 10:40 and we all warmed up rolling out of Great Falls.
First big break started at the first up-hill about 6 or 7 miles out, without any holding back. Pace was high-end, and by mile 11 or 12 I was sucking big wind with only John and 5 others out there. I cut back on my pulls and sat back on the end of the paceline, but even that wasn’t enough for me to stay with the group for long and I got popped off the back at about mile 16, all by my lonesome. I was thinking – there’s still 25-plus miles to go, I need to keep some reserves!
Big fast 2.5 mile descent into Eden – hitting 45mph. And nearing the 180-degree turn around (first of 3) I saw three out front (including John), then a single Masters B from Canada, then a Cat 5. I passed the Cat 5 going back up the hill, and saw that Canada guy was holding his own on the lead group – sorta. The 2nd 180 turn-around was supposed to be 6 miles from Eden, but was more like 7. At that point the Canadian had lost contact with the lead group and I yelled to slow so we could work together, but he wasn’t going to do any such thing. So as I headed back to Eden I saw the Cat 5 rider not too far back off my rear (probably about 1/4 mile separation) and decided it was worth the risk to slow down and work together. He (Corey from Billings) caught me about 1/2 way back to Eden and we agreed to work together. I’d help pull him up, and he’d lead the roller back to the finish. Wee made some good time on the Canadian on the 2.5 mile descent into Eden with Corey being a “big boy”. Pulled past the Canadian on the climb out and he wasn’t able to stick with us (kinda what I figured). On the up out of Eden, Randall (going the other direction) shouts “you can catch them” (“yeah, right” I think – they’re probably 2 minutes up, or more). But up on the rollers, Corey is motivated and the boy has power. I help where I can but let him do a lot of work. Still 10 miles to the finish but we’re cranking, and we can see the wheel car and we’re gaining…
Finally about 2 kilometers, and we’re about 10 seconds back, but now the lead 3 are cranking. So I let Corey do most of the pulling into the final 150 meters, when I decide to sprint for the finish. Probably a bit too early, but I manage to cross the finish about a foot ahead of Corey.
So the two 4’s finished ahead of John, who had decided back at 2 km out that the chase group (Corey and me) were getting too close and just needed to finish ahead of us to get first in the Masters’ B. It was a good while before the Canadian showed up (sweet revenge). Randall rolled in a while later for a 4th place finish.
So Team Great Divide took 1,2,4, and 6, I think, in Master’s B category.
Sweet weather, screwy course with 3 180-degree turns, but VERY light traffic, nice scenery and great smooth tread.
Robert

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